Roy Halladay’s Passing, Five Years Later

Roy Halladay

It’s been five years since Roy Halladay passed away. The baseball star died in 2017 after his plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico near Florida. Halladay’s passing still hurts many to this day, but he will never leave its peak now that he is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. However, his legacy lives on every day, maybe in a way even he could have never imagined. Halladay is remembered as one of the best pitchers of his era.

Roy Halladay and Family

Roy “Doc” Halladay was beloved in the baseball world. To his former teammates, he stood out more compared to the rest. He was described by most as the most driven person they had met. Raul Ibanez told NBC Sports, “Halladay’s drive and excellence on the field were unmatched.” Although, to Shane Victorino, Halladay was like family to him. That word, family, seems to follow Halladay everywhere, even five years after his passing. Outside of being a dominant pitcher, Halladay was a family man who adored his sons and even coached their baseball teams. But he also had that impact on the organizations he played for. That sentiment speaks volumes considering his number, 32 and 34, respectively, are retired by the two organizations he played for in his career. Halladay will forever be a part of the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies family.

Halladay’s Passing Was Unexpected 

At the time of Roy Halladay’s passing, the world, including baseball, was coming to understand and accept mental health and mental illness. Months later, his autopsy revealed something no one saw coming, a long-time battle with mental health and addiction. In the E:60 documentary Imperfect: the Roy Halladay Story, the eight-time All-Star was addicted to painkillers due to shoulder and back injuries sustained in his career, his widow Brandy admitted. In addition to this, he had anxiety, depression, and ADHD.

Mental Health & Addiction

Brandy did explain in the documentary that her late husband became so dependent on the medication towards the end of his career that he went through withdrawal symptoms in the offseason. Halladay felt he had to use painkillers to function in everyday life. Not long after his playing days were over, Halladay went into inpatient treatment in 2013. Two years later, he again had to undergo treatment for opioid addiction. Two years after retirement, when things were supposed to be more laid back, he was still feeling the effects of the drug-addictive behaviours he started in his playing days. Unfortunately, that never went away.

Another Kind of Legacy

Although he was fighting his demons, he was still the Roy Halladay everyone loved. If only people knew the version of Roy Halladay that struggled, too. He had a workhorse personality that loved the game so desperately that he was willing to sacrifice his body and mind to be great. After some hiccups to start his career, Halladay turned it around to be at the top of his game from 2002-2012. In 2003, he won his first of two Cy Young Awards after going 22-8 with 204 strikeouts against 36 walks. When the Blue Jays traded him to the Phillies following the 2009 season, he threw a perfect game on May 29. Then, he threw the second no-hitter in postseason history in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Epitome of Excellence

Excellence is often recognized by others who are also excellent. Derek Jeter said that the “toughest player on me was Roy Halladay.” That praise is echoed. His no-hitter and perfect game in the same season will be near impossible to repeat. His impressive eight seasons of pitching over 200 innings are a thing of baseball’s past. The natural determination and work ethic are hard to replicate. Yet, he did all these things while battling mental health issues and addiction. He was the epitome of excellence despite all that he went through. No one did it like Roy Halladay. 

Roy Halladay Will Forever Be Remembered

Roy Halladay’s passing is still a tragedy 5 years later. Doc had so much left to accomplish. Halladay was most certainly going to be a member of the coaching staff of a major league team one day. He had already found that passion while coaching his sons in retirement. His accolades go on, but the man he was above all the baseball glory shines above that. Baseball fans will always remember Halladay’s life and legacy. But today, on the fifth anniversary of his death, it is important to remember that imperfect people still have perfect moments.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Players Mentioned:

Roy Halladay, Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Derek Jeter